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Spiral Architect - A Sceptic's Universe CD (album) cover


Spiral Architect


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.69 | 144 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars (5/10)

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to properly make my mind up about this one. My opinion can vary wildly even during a listen, so I'll go somewhere in the middle. The reason is that "A Sceptic's Universe" is pretty much an unremitting maelstrom of technical metal. To call Spiral Architect a 'challenging' band to listen to doesn't even begin to cover it.

Right from the start we get a onslaught of complicated time signatures, which never really lets up, never really lets you get a hold on any song for too long. To me, it sounds like a technical jazz metal extension of Fates Warning/Watchtower, something further emphasised by the vocals. I also have the version of this album with the bonus track, a cover of the early FW classic "Prelude To Ruin", which I think is absolutely brilliant. Maybe because I already know and love the song I can get a handle on it more easily. Its also the only song I can actually remember anything about once it's over.

Obviously the musicianship is outstanding, and this extends to every instrument. The bass in particular is really high in the mix, and a good addition to the sound. It bounces around weirdly with just as much of a technical flourish as the guitar. All the instruments are insanely complicated though. Did these guys ever manage to play this stuff live? God knows how that would have been possible.

At times though, I'm not sure what I'm really getting out of it. The songs can sometimes not even feel like songs, just formless technicality. I'm not sure if it's meant to sound chaotic, or if it's just so complexly structured that I can't decipher what is going on, but either way I am completely lost for large portions of the 'songs'.

In conclusion... I think I like it? Everyone should hear this, at least. Even if you end up hating it (which I can foresee many a typical prog fan doing) then you'll probably have a morbid fascination with the music. If however, you are a fan of Watchtower, Fates Warning, or any Jarzombek or Malone projects, then seek this out right away.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |


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